Trudeau says talks with U.S. ongoing, confident PPE shipments will continue


OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s confident shipments of personal protective medical gear from the United States will continue to arrive in Canada, despite apparent efforts by President Donald Trump to keep the equipment on American soil.

Trudeau says Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne had a conversation this morning with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and that lower-level talks between the two countries have been ongoing.

He says those conversations are proving “productive” and that the U.S. administration understands that trade with Canada is a two-way street that includes the raw materials that manufacturers need for gowns and masks, including the all-important N95 respirators.

The Trump White House has invoked the Defense Production Act to compel U.S. manufacturers of the equipment, such as 3M and Honeywell, to prioritize domestic orders co-ordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The White House has said those orders won’t interfere with exports that are in the national interests of the United States.

However, Ontario Premier Doug Ford told Toronto’s Citytv today that a shipment of masks that was to enter the province was instead turned around at the Canada-U.S. border — and Trudeau is acknowledging Canada has been having problems with a number of deliveries.

— Follow James McCarten on Twitter @CdnPressStyle